By Olivia Yepez
Friday night. After a long week. With holiday stress looming ever closer.
Eager to unwind, I decided to try a class at Pinot’s Palette in Morristown with a couple of friends from Drew University.
Katherine Walsh, 19, paints in her spare time. Still, “I was a little nervous at first because I’d never painted in a studio with other people before,” she said.
Rebecca Safi, 19, had attended a few similar events, so she had an idea of what to expect.
That left me as the newbie of our trio. The last time I picked up a paint brush probably was in elementary school.
We arrived at 7 p.m., traded our coats for aprons and grabbed complimentary water bottles, while others poured themselves glasses of wine they’d brought for the occasion.
Our class consisted of about 15 people. One pair of couples in their late 20s appeared to be double-dating, with girlfriends competing against boyfriends for the best painting. Another woman discussed plans for her upcoming 40th birthday.
Once we settled at our easels, instructor Sara Pucek, 20, took a few minutes to get us oriented with the canvas, brushes and colors we would be using to create our masterpieces:
A fall-themed pumpkin and leaf wreath, surrounding the word “thankful” on a background painted to look like a wooden plank.
Completing the painting in the allotted two-and-a-half hours sounded daunting, yet we were encouraged by Pucek’s constant reminders to make the painting our own.
But by 9:30 p.m., we only had finished our backgrounds and were starting to mix colors for the leaves.
The pros who create pieces for the class do so in about an hour-and-a-half, said Pucek, acknowledging it could take newbies like us much longer. She said the business still was figuring out how long to make this slot, since this pumpkin theme is new to the collection.
We needed more time. The room agreed unanimously. Luckily for us, Pinot’s Palette lets you stay until your artwork is finished.
For me and my friends, it took an hour of overtime. Other painters continued putting finishing touches onto their canvases as we called it quits at 10:30 p.m.
For Safi, seeing the finished painting was the best part.
“Only thing I would change is the timing,” she said.
Walsh agreed. She suggested the monitors mounted around the room for painters to follow along with the instructor could have been a little bigger, to give people a better idea of what Pucek was doing at the front of the class.
The night far exceeded my expectations, because I felt way out of my element when I walked in. The easy-to-grasp guidance of our instructor left me feeling confident in my work and very accomplished. Even though the project went long, time seemed to fly by as we painted and chatted throughout the evening.
We all agreed Pinot’s Palette would be worth a revisit — though we hope next time the painting isn’t so complicated it takes nearly four hours for novices to complete!
Pinot’s Palette is just off the historic Morristown Green, at 40 Market St. Sessions range from $25 to $45; all art materials are provided. Check Pinot’s website to see which scenes are being taught each day, and register for the one you want.
MorristownGreen.com correspondent Olivia Yepez is an honors student at Drew University (’22), where she is an editor of The Acorn.